Picked up a 1986 trek 1500 this past weekend. new tires& tubes, Updated shimano 600 shifters, derailleurs, brakes, etc. It needed a few tweaks and the spokes tightened up but was running well (as of monday). I rode it about 10 miles monday night with some friends. On tuesday morning I dropped it off at my LBS for their advertised $45 tune up. Includes cleaning, lube, adjustments, wheel trueing, air in the tires, etc. Just an overall tune up.
Tuesday @ noonish I get a call saying that my frame is cracked. Later that afternoon, I pick the bike up. the LBS shows me where the frame is cracked under the seat. He thought he spotted another crack near the bottom of the frame but, quickly realized that it was only a crack in the paint from the manufacturing process. He explained that these old aluminum frame bikes were simply pressed together and after time the paint can crack at those joints (especially on a 26 year old bike).
Long story short, he explained that the frame cracks were (for lack of better words) "distorting" the frame and preventing him from properly trueing the rear wheel. Told me the bike was not safe, don't ride it. bla, bla, bla. Then quickly directed me to towards the used bike section...
I took the bike home (he didn't charge me anything) and soon realized that my rear wheel was WAY out of whack. When rolling it across the garage, the tire would hit on each side of the frame (swingarm?(sorry, I'm coming from the motorcycling world)) during rotation; so much that it would lock up the rear wheel. It was as crooked as can be, the tension on each spoke was different from the last, and the wheel was way out of round. As I stated earlier... 24 hours prior, this bike carried me 10 miles with no issues.
I also took some sandpaper to those "frame cracks" only to reveal that they (like other places on the frame) were not cracks in the frame but, cracks in the paint due to that manufacturing process.
at this point I was getting aggravated... I carried in a (admittedly "rough") fully functional bike only to have a completely unrideable bike returned to me.
I took the the rear wheel back yesterday and asked that he re-true it. He said he would re true it but, since my frame was cracked, it wouldn't fit right on the bike. I told him the frame was in fact not cracked, to which he replied (with a smug look) "Sorry... your frame is cracked". I explained that it was, like other parts of the bike, part of the manufacturing process. He said something to the effect of "right, same thing. either way, your bike is falling apart and the wheel won't fit.
Lets be clear here folks. There is a HUGE difference between an aluminum crack and a (perfectly straight) hairline separation from a manufacturing process.
Anyways, hopefully I'll be picking it up this afternoon and hopefully he doesn't try to charge me for it... regardless of my fame's condition, the wheel should not have been returned to me in that condition.
On to the questions...
1. I've done some searching and can't find one situation where a pressed aluminum frame just falls apart at the joints. Have you guys ever heard of this?
2. If my frame is so messed up, that the rear wheel cannot even be trued on it, how was I able to ride it for 10 miles the day before? (although my spokes were a little on the loose side, the wheel was fairly true and round)
3. What about repairs? Can't I press the joints back together (assuming they have even separated) and weld/braze them for a permanent fix?
I know... I just wrote a book. Sorry for the long post, I'm just hoping to get some insight from people who have been around the block a few times.